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42. Charles Warren Brown House, 1908 42. Charles Warren Brown House, 1908
2504 Third St.
Built By: Charles Warren Brown

Charles Warren Brown House, 1908
2504 Third St


Dedication marker in stone

Front view

2504 Third St. is a quintessential turn-of-the century California Craftsman - built and occupied by Charles Warren Brown, a councilman who enjoyed civic affairs. Brown was also a speculator - buying land and building homes. This home features typical Craftsman elements such as strongly delineated porch columns, exposed rafters, and gable motifs. In a novel approach, the windows are large, and placed in an irregular combination. But, individual design is typical of the California Craftsman bungalow. This architectural style is the West Coast contribution to an Arts and Crafts movement, a creative evolution that emphasized hand-crafted workmanship, natural materials, and a harmony with nature.

The Continental Arts & Crafts Movement began in Europe in the second half of the 19th Century. Arts & Crafts is the generic term for this artistic movement. Art Nouveau refers specifically to the French movement. Jugendstil was the name of the German form, Secession in Austria, Style Moderne in Russia, Gaudi in Spain, Glasgow School and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Scotland.

At the turn of the 20th century, throughout Europe, utopian artist colonies were funded by wealthy "socialists" dedicated to countering the dehumanizing aspects of the machine age. The movement was meant to counter the excess of the Victorian period by returning to the past when handicrafts displayed the laborer's personal involvement in the work.

European writers who embraced the movement were John Ruskin and William Morris. These writers heavily influenced American designer Gustav Stickley - one of the leading North American artists involved in the Arts and Crafts movement.
From 1901-1916, Stickley published Craftsman magazine. It was here that the terms "California Bungalow" or "California Craftsman" were first used. As Craftsman magazine flourished the term was broadened, going beyond Stickley and his work, to encompassing a design style that spread throughout the country. Craftsman features grew to include street-facing gables, organic coloring that merged with nature, wide overhanging eaves, sleeping porches, front doors that open directly into the living room, dark wood paneling with plastered ceiling (sometimes with wooden beams), fireplaces, casement windows, arched openings flanked with “built-in” bookcases which separate living room and dining room, bedrooms with woodwork painted a light color and kitchen built-ins.

The Craftsman bungalow was California’s contribution to the Arts and Crafts movement. An important factor in the construction of bungalows was their ability to meet owners' specific needs. To compliment this new architectural style, a new concept in interior decorating was introduced to accommodate this modern approach. Architects such as Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Greene Brothers designed the furnishings, the hardware, and the draperies that went into their homes. Through style magazines such as The Craftsman and the Ladies Home Journal, the middle class was introduced to the Craftsman style. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, Craftsman style evolved into an American favorite, embraced by the country for more than a century.